What to Consider When Selecting a Dentist?
How do you choose the best dentist for you and your family?
This is a really good question!
- Should you look in the phone book? (Do people still do this?)
- Should you do an online search?
- Should you ask your neighbors or friends?
- Should you call a couple offices for a price check?
- Should you try to visit a couple offices to get a feel for the place, the doctor, the team?
- Should you just go to whoever is close to you – they are all pretty similar, right?
- Should you ask other local dental specialty practices who they refer to?
- Should you get a list from a dental insurance company?
There may very well be some advantages to each of these but I would like to tell you my recommendations. This is what we tell our dental patients and what I would recommend to my friends or family who are moving or who live in another area.
Should you look in the phone book? (Yes, people still do this!)
Depending on your age (older people really like phone books!), this will only tell you what the dentists and dental practices have paid for. Any dentist can buy a big ad saying that they do all types of dental procedures for all ages of dental patients. Do you really want to choose the office that spends the most on a phone book ad? Maybe you do. Some offices that are great find that this helps their office stand out from others in the same phone book. I would caution you about the following:
- Any office can advertise that they do ‘Cosmetic Dentistry’
If you want to go to an office that really does Cosmetic Dentistry at the highest level, select a dentist whose skills in Cosmetic Dentistry have been evaluated by dentists trained in Cosmetic Dentistry. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, AACD, offers an accreditation program in Cosmetic that sets the standard for cosmetic dental treatment. Select an office very willing to show you their own before and after photographs of patients treated in their office. Any dentist can purchase before and after images that showcase excellent cosmetic dental treatment!
If this is what you are looking for, select a dentist like Dr. Julie Gillis who has been Accredited with the AACD. In fact, Dr. Gillis was the very first dentist in Colorado to achieve this recognition. She is not examining the work of other dentists who are also trying to become accredited.
- Any office can advertise that they do implants, or dentures, or porcelain veneers just to name a few things that people look for in a dental office.
In Dr. Gillis’ Grand Junction, Colorado dental office you will see her photographs all over the office showcasing her own patient’s before and after photos. You will also see her creative photos of her dental team and travels.
Should you do an online search?
A ton of useful information can be found online about a dental practice. Look at the reviews. Remember that no dentist can please everyone, but reviews should be mostly very positive and should list some of the traits you are looking for. Follow up by calling a couple dental offices to schedule an appointment or to request an office tour. You should be able to request to see actual before and after photographs of patients treated in the practice. You should be able to meet the dentist and the team members who will be caring for you.
We recommend going to office websites to look at procedures they offer, patient testimonials, before and after photos, information for patients – whatever it is that you need to be comfortable. Our office tries to keep our website as up to date and informative as we can. Check us out at www.juliegillisdds.com!
Unfortunately, there may also be a lot of misinformation out there as well!
Should you ask your neighbors or friends?
Neighbors and friends are always a good source of information. Plus, once you have a name or two, you can search for that offices website or see their reviews online! The downside is that just because a dentist is friendly, they may not have the best skills especially if you are looking for very specific dental treatment or advanced care. Hopefully you will be successful in finding both friendly and talented!
Should you call a couple offices for a price check?
It is okay to call for a price check but it doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the work or dental care. It is difficult to give an exact price on the phone for some procedures because additional treatment may be needed for an ideal result. Let’s say you want to know the price of an exam and a cleaning. Is cost the most important criteria? I hope the answer is no. Does the cost reflect anything about the thoroughness of the examination, or the quality and safety of the dental xrays? No! If you go to five different dental offices for an exam and cleaning will you get five different treatment plans? The answer is probably yes! This is why it is so very important to select an office you can trust.
Are all cleanings and examinations the same? The answer is an emphatic no!
Should you try to visit a couple offices to get a feel for the place, the doctor, the team?
I like this idea especially if you are armed with information from friends and the internet!
Should you just go to whoever is close to you – they are all pretty similar, right?
This could work for you if you have done your research about the dentists close to you as noted above. All dental offices are different – some very much so! It is worth driving the extra miles to see a dentist concerned about quality and taking good care of you and one that you can trust like Dr Julie Gillis. She treats each patient as an individual and cares about their treatment goals and needs.
Should you ask other local dental specialty practices who they refer to?
This is also a very good idea! An Oral Surgeon or an Endodontist for example, will see the work of many dentists in the area and should be able to make a recommendation for you.
Should you get a list from a dental insurance company?
This is the very worst idea from the list above unless you use this list as a starting point for your research about different dental practices. To be listed as preferred by a dental insurance a dentist only needs to agree to a particular fee schedule!
We hope this information has been helpful ink your search to find an ideal dental office for you or for someone you love! This is a big decision and worth doing some research before just selecting the dental office or dentist offering the best price or coupon for your care. We participate in some of these offers to help get our name out there – many offices do. We believe our office offers the best combination of exceptional dental care in a clean, caring and comfortable environment with a friendly dentist and dental team. One thing that really stands out for our patients is how long we have worked together as a team and how well we work together for the best care of our patients. This is the kind of dental office I have created to offer my patients the kind of care I expect for myself and those that I love.
Yours for better dental health,
Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD
Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles